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Elvis Costello — (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Album: My Aim Is True
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1834









Released: 1977
Length: 2:40
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Oh, I used to be disgusted
And now I try to be amused
But since their wings have got rusted
Y'know the angels wanna wear my red shoes

But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain
That's when I knew that I could not refuse
And I won't get any older
Now the angels wanna wear my red shoes

Oh-oh, I was watching while you're dancing away
Our love got fractured in the echo and sway
How come everybody wants to be your friend?
You know that it still hurts me just to say it

Oh, I know that she's disgusted
Because she's feeling so abused
She gets tired of the lust
But it's so hard to refuse

How can you say that I'm too old
When the angels have stolen my red shoes?

Oh-oh, I said, "I'm so happy, I could die"
She said, "Drop dead," then left with another guy
That's what you get if you go chasing after vengeance
Ever since you got me punctured this has been my sentence

Oh, I used to be disgusted
Well now I try to be amused
But since their wings have got rusted
Y'know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes

But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain
That's when I knew that I could not refuse
And I won't get any older
Now the angels wanna wear my red shoes

Oh, I won't get any older
Now the angels wanna wear my red shoes

Red shoes, the angels wanna wear my red shoes
Red shoes, the angels wanna wear my red shoes
Red shoes, the angels wanna wear my red shoes
...
Comments (182)add comment
The more I hear of Elvis Costello, the more I'm starting to "get" the genius. Thanks RP!
There are a few songs that I can remember when/were I was the first time I heard them.

This is one of those songs....pure genius.
 stevecossaboom wrote:
Music from my first year of college! This album just came out ... as did Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedos ... Joe Jackson's Look Sharp ... The Clash ... so much awesome music. 
 
And, for a while, unwelcome on the airwaves. 

“Some of my friends sit around every evening and they worry bout the times ahead.
Everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference and the promise of an early bed...”
I first heard of EC in college, fully five years after this came out. I remember thinking something like 'oh my God, what is this? it's incredible!' Sharp, smart lyrics, rocking sound, with hints of rockabilly, but not, you know?

I've always wanted a tee with 'DISGUSTED' on one side and 'AMUSED' on the other.
c.
 clickfaster wrote:
I have tried for decades to like Elvis, but I still just don't get it.
 

Yep, and then I saw him in concert, when he opened for Jackson Brown. The man has command of the stage, outstanding.  If you ever get the chance definitely go for it.
 inmanart wrote:
friggin' sick of Elvis Costello
 
There's a "Skip" button for that reason.  Then you don't have to post negativity.
 newbolddrive wrote:
I realize that deep down I blame Elvis for not staying 30 years old. Not his fault, but it's how I feel. 
 
You're NOT getting any younger either! .......LOL!
ICONIC!  ................................
friggin' sick of Elvis Costello
I realize that deep down I blame Elvis for not staying 30 years old. Not his fault, but it's how I feel. 
 gmsingh123 wrote:
I remember seeing Elvis Costello on SNL in '77 and thinking he was awful.  You can't be right all the time!





I didn't like him at first either.  I used to playfully argue with a guy at work about Dylan (whom I loved he hated) and Costello (whom he loved and I hated). I changed my mind when I heard Imperial Bedroom. Then I retroactively warmed up to what he'd done prior to that. 

More Elvis Please!
 islander wrote:
This song is 38 years old? Wow, it really holds up well.
 

42 years ago now.
Music from my first year of college! This album just came out ... as did Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedos ... Joe Jackson's Look Sharp ... The Clash ... so much awesome music. 
But you did get older Costello. and not much better imo
I remember when this first came out I bought the LP and the 8 track.
The LP for home use... the 8 track for listening to it in my truck and at work.
I would pull up to the house I was working on (drywall finisher), drag my speakers into the house and turn on the latest "New Wave" music out there.
I was using a system back then that had a 4 speaker Sparkomatic 8 track unit. I could shut the speakers off in the truck... then turn on my remote ones on in the house.
There was this lather that I worked around a lot and he was always questioned me on "What the heck are you listening to?" I told him it was the new Buddy Holly. Then showed him the label on the 8 track. He walked away shaking his head.
Gotta love EC. Not my favourite, but it's got some quality lines and still sounds great after nearly 4 decades.
 Angry_Old_Man wrote:
Elvis Costello

Consistently terrible and overrated
 
Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....wrong.
Just saw Elvis with Blondie in Boston a couple of weeks ago. 
He has not lost a step and sounds great, awesome show. 
Genius:

I said, "I'm so happy, I could die"
She said, "Drop dead," then left with another guy
 Retrograde-orbit wrote:
I used to be disgusted....I love starting a Monday with Welcome to the Working Week.  Sufreakingpurb album.
 
Back in my college days/daze the Monday theme song was "Crawling from the Wreckage" by Dave Edmunds.  Of course with age the weekends are not as wild as they used to be.
"I used to be disgusted now I try to be amused"

That line alone is worth an 8!
Oh yeah?  Well, you poop in your pants!
Elvis Costello probably does too...
Signed,
Immature EP FanForLife
Elvis Costello

Consistently terrible and overrated
Probably my fave Elvis song
I used to be disgusted....I love starting a Monday with Welcome to the Working Week.  Sufreakingpurb album.
Such a fantastic intro !
I have tried for decades to like Elvis, but I still just don't get it.
I remember seeing Elvis Costello on SNL in '77 and thinking he was awful.  You can't be right all the time!





timeless!
I have it on good authority that Costello was up ALL night writing this one.
Neko Case>Elvis Costello=Honey>dog puke.
My shoes may be red, and eyes ? I wear my ultraviolet shades.
Suits me fine, in my  friend's birthday party
 islander wrote:
This song is 38 years old? Wow, it really holds up well.

 
Holy !@(@#*@~!!!
Always good to hear this one.
 islander wrote:
This song is 38 years old? Wow, it really holds up well.

 

I remember when it came out...I was a freshman at the U. of Minnesota, and my roommate bought it on vinyl.  It sounded pretty good compared to all the prog (which I also somewhat liked) coming out of every other dorm room.  But we all were ready for something a little "edgier", and this guy seemed to kick it all off.

Anyway, sometime in the spring of '78, Elvis showed up in downtown Mpls. headlining a show with Nick Lowe + Rockpile billed 2nd & Mink DeVille opening.  It was probably the best 5 bucks I ever spent! 
 islander wrote:
This song is 38 years old? 

Frightening isn’t it!


This song is 38 years old? Wow, it really holds up well.
This was back when red shoes were a sure sign of something rebellious—those rebelled against didn't know exactly what, but the red shoes were a sure sign.
all the angels I've known would set his red shoes on fire......
This song has the great line......... "I used to be disgusted, but now I'm just amused".
Mr Costello just a bit too ubiquitous in the media last few years, and it maddens me.
Fan of early stuff tho 
One of the finest songs ever from EC.
 Bobert_ParkCity wrote:
To my ears and sensibility, The First Two EC Records really are seminal.
 

I'll never hear this song the same way after seeing him do this with Elmo and the Cookie Monster!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxardpBReQc

Jeff Turk, where are you now? He's the guy who turned me on to Elvis way back in the way back (1984 or so). Love this one and "May Aim is True".
To my ears and sensibility, The First Two EC Records really are seminal.
there's something so infectiously feel-good about Elvis Costello, I love his enthusiasm {#Bananajumprope}
Hey, I'm wearing red shoes right now.
 phlattop wrote:
hmmm, just noticed there is nothing off of King of America on the RP playlist. Perhaps "Suit of Lights" or "Eisenhower Blues"? To me, that was EC's last great album and he's just been repeating himself since.
 
I love that album too!

hmmm, just noticed there is nothing off of King of America on the RP playlist. Perhaps "Suit of Lights" or "Eisenhower Blues"? To me, that was EC's last great album and he's just been repeating himself since.
 holborne wrote:
Just because of all the incredibly stupid and ignorant comments on this song and on Elvis generally, I upped my rating from 7 to 9. Thanks, guys!
 
 Did the same a long time ago! Snarkers can suck it (with all due respect). {#Wave}


 audiolizard wrote:
No sir, I don't like it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0-oJZ4GbvY

hahaha!  {#Roflol}  i used to say that all the time... (got it from Mr. Horse on Ren & Stimpy)  it's true — this song is just "meh"

 RidgehandDad wrote:
he writes the poetry of the anti-fairy tale
 
s'right.

7

I'm on mute, is it over yet??
 audiolizard wrote:
Elvis Costello (born Declan Patrick MacManus)... an excellent musician and simultaneously a huge hack with a terrible voice.  I can't stand the majority of his music, including this.

 
i'm with you, audiolizard. i've tried, if only because of my RP habit. the music i don't like here is minimal and has become even more so after five years of devoted listenership - i've even grown to appreciate Tom Waits for cryin out loud. but the dudette does not abide this.


never get old
 
I never once thought this when I listened to this song back in the 80's.  But now all I can think is:  I really need a pair of shoes like that.
"i used to be disgusted"

funny, i wasn't until this song came on!
"I said I'm so happy I could die,
 She said 'Drop dead!" and left with another guy,"

I always crack up when I hear those lines.  I think we've all been stood up like that at least once in our young lives!

Great mid-70's tune...as RidgehandDad said, I think we are looking at the lyrical Van Gogh of our time.
Just because of all the incredibly stupid and ignorant comments on this song and on Elvis generally, I upped my rating from 7 to 9. Thanks, guys!
"I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused."

I wonder how many people have that bumper sticker, and don't even know it's a song lyric...

Elvis Costello (born Declan Patrick MacManus)... an excellent musician and simultaneously a huge hack with a terrible voice.  I can't stand the majority of his music, including this.

Also, that album cover is hideous.


hate to disagree with the recent masses - I think this is a classic!
soooooooo   {#Beat}sexy......{#Puke}{#Puke}{#Crashcomp}{#Whisper}this  is  a VOMIT  friendly tune!!!  wasn't impressed with the other Elvis either!!!!
audiolizard wrote:
No sir, I don't like it.
Second that. List of constipated-sounding singers: - Bob Dylan - Elvis Costello - Toni Childs (though she's definitely listenable) (Team, help me out by adding to this list.)
I will pledge fifty bucks if you promise never to play elvis costello again
RidgehandDad wrote:
His lyrics are a bit of a Rorschach test and allow for lots of visceral resonance. They are understood somatically even when they are not intellectually.
Echo lmic. There a very few all-star posts on this site, and this is one of them. Imagine, all that in a pop song...
The only thing that made this guy was the name 'Elvis', signifying an alternative to the King. Had Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus chosen 'Fred Costello' we'd not have to put up with this noise.
No sir, I don't like it.
Veegez and the poose rule!!! What they said....oh yeah. God bless EC aka DPAM, the Imposter, the LHC, Napoleon Dynamite, the bespectacled Coward brother.
hello ? radio hell ?
cc_rider wrote:
Godlike. Something all of us screwed-up kids can relate to. From songmeanings.net, somebody finally stepping up and getting it right: " this song is obviously about suicide. "And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes." this woman left him ("she said drop dead and left with another guy") and he doesn't want to live anymore because the angels that "want to wear his red shoes" have tempted him with death." Well, duh. Elvis Costello can't sing. No kidding, Einstein. Neither can Bob Dylan or Neil Young. Bruce Springsteen ain't exactly Pavarotti either. Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen sound like they've been drug over a gravel road. Twice. So what? Their talent lies in their songwriting and execution. And slamming Mrs. Costello is out of line. Her voice is unbelievable, and she is hot. Yeah I'm not in love with her catalog, but her talent is undeniable. Happy Listening! c.
And wait until the twins grow up! They'll likely have the voices of angels. Also, I wonder whether Di calls Elvis Elvis at home.
Why are angels so interested in red shoes?
Yeah this guy's no bloody holly In the immortal words of Bill Nye "Oh no! Not this crap again!"
E_A_D_G wrote:
Declan hits his stride. Pop perfection.
McManus's best!
Declan hits his stride. Pop perfection.
come on Night Angel
Sadly, I'm unable to climb over his horrific-train-wreck singing voice in order to study and appreciate his lyrical skills. From the comments I've read, it sounds like there is a lot of meaning in there for all of us to relate to when we're down, and I appreciate that... but I just can't listen to it. Much as I can't find meaning in a movie like "Saw". Blech.
RidgehandDad wrote:
I realize I'm a responding to a post here that's pretty old, having said that: A previous poster had stated that ‘Red Shoes' is "obviously" about suicide. That writer is on track but did not finish. The more literal line of this story is, starting after the ‘lead in' refrain, is about a older man ("how can you say I'm too old..") in blissfully ignorant to reality love ("I'm so happy I could die") with a girl who is sleeping around ("everybody wants to be your friend (it hurts me just to say it)", and, (the lust is) "hard to refuse". She finally tells him to "drop dead", but (stalker like logic) he looks to get vengeance, either on her, by his suicide, or, going after the guy she is with. In either case his gets wounded ("you got me punctured") mortally ("my sentence", "won't get any older" and ‘wearing red shoes'). At first he is pissed off at his situation, then as he resigns to death, he finds cynical amusement in the situation he brought on himself ("I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused"). More broadly, the song is about giving your life to something or someone that does not appreciate the level of your sacrifice, and especially, about the visceral feelings when the truth is recognized. This is something that is usually not experienced while one is still young and idealistic, which maybe why Elvis is quoted as saying he finds it funny he wrote this at 22 years of age. I don't think its funny…. it is flat out inspired. I think we are looking at the lyrical Van Gogh of our time. Under- understood and appreciated, he writes the poetry of the anti-fairy tale, vignettes of real life drama of the mundane or base human experience. His lyrics are a bit of a Rorschach test and allow for lots of visceral resonance. They are understood somatically even when they are not intellectually.
I think I agree with and comprehend this post somatically, if not intellectually.
I realize I'm a responding to a post here that's pretty old, having said that: A previous poster had stated that ‘Red Shoes' is "obviously" about suicide. That writer is on track but did not finish. The more literal line of this story is, starting after the ‘lead in' refrain, is about a older man ("how can you say I'm too old..") in blissfully ignorant to reality love ("I'm so happy I could die") with a girl who is sleeping around ("everybody wants to be your friend (it hurts me just to say it)", and, (the lust is) "hard to refuse". She finally tells him to "drop dead", but (stalker like logic) he looks to get vengeance, either on her, by his suicide, or, going after the guy she is with. In either case his gets wounded ("you got me punctured") mortally ("my sentence", "won't get any older" and ‘wearing red shoes'). At first he is pissed off at his situation, then as he resigns to death, he finds cynical amusement in the situation he brought on himself ("I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused"). More broadly, the song is about giving your life to something or someone that does not appreciate the level of your sacrifice, and especially, about the visceral feelings when the truth is recognized. This is something that is usually not experienced while one is still young and idealistic, which maybe why Elvis is quoted as saying he finds it funny he wrote this at 22 years of age. I don't think its funny…. it is flat out inspired. I think we are looking at the lyrical Van Gogh of our time. Under- understood and appreciated, he writes the poetry of the anti-fairy tale, vignettes of real life drama of the mundane or base human experience. His lyrics are a bit of a Rorschach test and allow for lots of visceral resonance. They are understood somatically even when they are not intellectually.
bokey wrote:
Did he coin "Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused."? Or did he purloin it from a beer huggy or one of the cutesy desk placards?Seriously.I'm curious.
seriously, he coined it. Pretty good one, don't you think?
Did he coin "Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. "? Or did he purloin it from a beer huggy or one of the cutesy desk placards?Seriously. I'm curious.
DD closemindedmoron wrote:
Yeah, and this guy looks like the type of kid I use to beat up in high school. He sucks!
I know you are pulling my leg, but you do an excellent job of impersonating an asshole.
DD closemindedmoron wrote:
Yeah, and this guy looks like the type of kid I use to beat up in high school. He sucks!
Seems like he achieved quite a bit more than you have, though
Godlike. Something all of us screwed-up kids can relate to. From songmeanings.net, somebody finally stepping up and getting it right: " this song is obviously about suicide. "And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes." this woman left him ("she said drop dead and left with another guy") and he doesn't want to live anymore because the angels that "want to wear his red shoes" have tempted him with death." Well, duh. Elvis Costello can't sing. No kidding, Einstein. Neither can Bob Dylan or Neil Young. Bruce Springsteen ain't exactly Pavarotti either. Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen sound like they've been drug over a gravel road. Twice. So what? Their talent lies in their songwriting and execution. And slamming Mrs. Costello is out of line. Her voice is unbelievable, and she is hot. Yeah I'm not in love with her catalog, but her talent is undeniable. Happy Listening! c.
Always happy to hear early Elvis!
Govi wrote:
"Well I used to be disgusted..." Well, I still am, every time I hear this man's voice. **changes channel**
Huh.
closemindedmoron wrote:
Yeah, and this guy looks like the type of kid I use to beat up in high school. He sucks!
You must be one of those foul thug jocks that beat up other kids at school. Your moral authority to say that anything 'sucks" is nonexistent. And Mr. McManus was actually a pub brawler hisself in his younger days, and could probably have taken you down any day of the week. Just ponder a second before you start typing. Of course you are probably an internet ghost, so ignoring your random typing would perhaps be best.
ThePoose wrote:
And married their bass player: Cait O'Riordan--for a while.
I hope that one could sing better than the new Mrs. Costello. I listen to her sing and I can just feel the braincells going to sleep.
Lizard62 wrote:
He produced The Pogues album "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" in 1985, for one...
And married their bass player: Cait O'Riordan--for a while.
"Well I used to be disgusted..." Well, I still am, every time I hear this man's voice. **changes channel**
closemindedmoron wrote:
Yeah, and this guy looks like the type of kid I use to beat up in high school. He sucks!
Wow. Your username really says it all, doesn't it?
Nice seamless transition from the Spoon's song... :jump:
This makes want to dance! :dancingbanana:
The angels want to wear his red shoes and Elvis's twins want their brown diapers changed.
Please don't follow this up with his wife. Please.
LOVE this song -- a great little ditty.
This song irritates me to no end!! :no: And, unfortunately, it's in the regular rotation here.
No! Don't do it! Don't put on The Red Shoes!
This set has something to do with....Hope? Can't escape the feeling sometimes that Bill has a bit o' the Godly within him. Or should that be Godlike. 7:54 pm - Elvis Costello - (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes 7:49 pm - World Party - What Does It Mean Now? 7:46 pm - Subdudes - Angel To Be
mrmojorisin wrote:
I must be in the minority too.
Add one more. Soon, the majority will be ours :war:
Zep wrote:
Great tune, but seems a little high in the RP rotation. Maybe send it to the back of the queue for awhile?
Agreed.
Great tune, but seems a little high in the RP rotation. Maybe send it to the back of the queue for awhile?
Great tune!
Pyro wrote:
I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I just never GOT EC. This is a catchy tune, but that's about it.
What about "Alison"? That's another great song that's not played much anymore.
PopKombo wrote:
How could anyone not like this song??!!!!
Exactly! Back in the late '70s when that disco junk was swamping the airwaves, he was a breath of artistic fresh air. His work still holds up, IMO.
Pyro wrote:
I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I just never GOT EC. This is a catchy tune, but that's about it.
I must be in the minority too.
I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I just never GOT EC. This is a catchy tune, but that's about it.
Johnny_Wave wrote:
100% agreed. In the same category: Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young. There are any number of people who might have far superior voices, but could any of them ever create a song that really resonates with an audience? Doubtful.......
I just watched "De-Lovely" last night and Elvis Costello sang one of Cole Porter's songs, who did not have a great voice either, but was a definitive songwriter. It was really good movie, btw. Just a tidbit for your collection :angel:
Marr wrote:
EC may not have the nicest voice, but his talent is exceptional.
100% agreed. In the same category: Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young. There are any number of people who might have far superior voices, but could any of them ever create a song that really resonates with an audience? Doubtful.......
highwindows wrote:
Me - because Elvis Costello can't sing!!
The question of the quality of this or that singer's voice is generally unimportant. There are people with the voice of an angel that waste their talent on schmaltzy crap. And then there are people with basic to awful voices that have learned to make it work within the context of their music. Notice that most of the latter type write their own stuff? EC may not have the nicest voice, but his talent is exceptional.
I don't give a **** about his stinky red shoes.
PopKombo wrote:
How could anyone not like this song??!!!!
Me - because Elvis Costello can't sing!!
How could anyone not like this song??!!!!
As Lin Bremer here in Chicago says, "If your Elvis is dead, try ours." One of the greatest living songwriters today. Not his best effort, but a fantastic writer.
Lizard62 wrote:
He produced The Pogues album "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" in 1985, for one...
That's more of an indictment for crime than a citation of excellence. :whisper: